Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by StephanWolf, Jun 17, 2004.
Does anyone have any ideas on the best way to clean the engine/motor compartment area?
My dealer had to steam clean my engine bay because they left off the oil cap during a routine maint. It was a mess before, but they seem to do a pretty good job. Though I did get a intermittent issue with my brakes when I was coming home that evening. (All the brake and ABS lights came on even though it worked fine.) Hasn't cropped up since.
I posed the question to toyota and was told to use a damp cloth to wipe everything down.I usually wipe down the components everytime I wash it, minimizes the buildup.
Underhood is a mass of wiring, connectors, and other sensitive "stuff" including several electronic control modules. While steam cleaning used to be a relatively safe practice, it now requires knowledge of what not to get hot and what not to get wet. High pressure steam can get into almost everything.
The Prius takes this to another level. Extra care must be taken since even more sensitive electronics are underhood. Most are intended to operate at 200 degrees F or so, but they are not intended to have direct high temperature, high pressure steam directed at them. Harnesses, electrical connectors, and black boxes (ECU's) such as the inverter should be avoided. I would not let anyone but a Toyota dealer do this, even if they accepted total responsibility for anything that goes wrong. A failure resulting from improper steam cleaning might not occur for several days or weeks.
I do the same as the other poster, and just use a damp rag to wipe things off.
Of course, there's so much buried in there, it's tough to do more than scratch the surface, but at least unlike my old car, there's very little oil and fluids, it's mostly just dirt which comes off easily (there's a seal at the front of the hood that seems to keep a lot of crud out).
I usually hand wash my cars. When completed, I raise the hood and spray the hose into and around the fenderwells and back of the radiator. Ocassionally I will use a brush and Simple Green on the valve cover and other engine components.
So far its never harmed any of my vehicles. I figure that in heavy rains, driving at highway speeds forces more water into the engine compartment than I do when washing it. With the Prius, I'll stay clear of the orange cables; everything else seems well sealed.
I use cleaning wipes (several brands available) to wipe of the dirt from all the surfaces I can reach.
well today was the day my engine compartment cleaning came back to haunt me. About a month ago we got the car out of the shop where it had resided for about 3 1/2 months and the under hood area was the only place not cleaned in the final prep for delivery to us. So took it home and got a really good cleaner called Chomp, completely bio-degradable, uses enzymes to eat grease and oil etc. did a really good job. Took the garden hose and set the nozzle on a really fine spray and gave the whole compartment a final rinse. All was fine until this morning on the way home from a breakfast engagement it started to miss and loose power. So the Toyota dealer is on the way so stopped in and the describe the symptoms and the service writer realizing that I had more than a passing knowledge of automotive servicing called in the Prius tech, I describe what it was doing (missing on one possibly two cylinders) and he asked if it set the MIL and it hadn't so they started a work order on it but like the tech said he'd be just chasing a ghost with out the MIL set. Told them I'd drive it till it sets and then bring it in. Had a quick meeting with the parts guy and left and got about 80 yards away and it wasn't going to make it home so flipped a Uie and went back, went in and he said they couldn't do anything till the afternoon, so told then I'd take the wife home and come back, in the meantime the service manager was out in the parking lot as I started to back it out and it was really running rough so left it in drive and put on the parking brake and got out and looked under the hood to see if any thing was grossly obvious and it was shaking really bad, then settled down to a normal idle and then quit. the wife say's you got the triangle of death and the service manager said I think some things wrong. To make along story short I had gotten water in the sparkplug tube and it was causing an intermittent short on sparkplug no1. Got code P0301, tech pulled all the coils and blew all the moisture out of all the plug tubes. So the moral of the story is if you do wash the engine compartment take your compressor and blow out the sparkplug tubes. Why it took a month to start this problem developing I can't tell you but it did. I'll continue to wash it off but I'll blow things dry when I'm done. If you would like to contribute to the cost of this fact finding incident, I'd be happy to oblige you!
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